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Obama, McCain to Attend White House Meeting Over Wall Street Rescue Plan


WORLD ECONOMY: U.S. President George Bush is meeting with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at the White House today to discuss a proposed 700-billion dollar rescue plan for the U.S. financial sector.Key congressional leaders are also due to attend the meeting.In a nationallly televised address Wednesday night, Mr. Bush urged lawmakers to pass the massive plan, warning that the entire U.S. economy faces a "long and painful" recession if Congress does not take immediate action.The bailout plan would allow the government to buy devalued assets from troubled financial firms.

US POLITICS: Rival U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain came together Wednesday to issue a joint statement urging congressional action on an economic rescue package.The statement calls the Bush administration's multi-billion dollar plan flawed. But it says the country cannot risk economic catastrophe. The statement says Democrats and Republicans must rise above politics and come together for the sake of the American people.Earlier Wednesday, Republican candidate McCain says he is suspending his campaign to focus on the financial crisis.

SOUTH AFRICA - POLITICS: A new South African president is to be sworn into office today after the ruling party forced Thabo Mbeki to resign just months before the end of his term.Parliament is expected to elect Kgalema Mothlanthe as South Africa's third post-apartheid president today.Mothlanthe is the deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress party. He will serve until April elections, which ruling party chief Jacob Zuma is expected to win.

CHINA - MILK: South Korea is the latest nation to ban imports of Chinese dairy products after discovering Chinese-made snacks contained a chemical that has sickened thousands of children who consumed contaminated milk.The Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) says tests on more than 100 products found the chemical melamine in two biscuit-type snacks. Officials ordered the products to be removed from store shelves and destroyed. More than a dozen governments in Asia, Africa and Europe have either banned or recalled Chinese dairy products since the scandal broke two weeks ago.

THAILAND - SAMAK: Thailand's Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and jail sentence of ex-Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej in connection to a defamation case.Today's ruling upholds a two-year jail sentence handed down last year by a criminal court. Samak and a co-defendant were found guilty for remarks made during a television show in 2006, when he accused a former deputy governor of Bangkok of accepting a bribe.Samak's lawyer says he will file an appeal with the Thai Supreme Court.

BURMA - EXPLOSION: At least six people have been wounded in a bomb blast in the main Burmese city of Rangoon today, the one-year anniversary of the ruling military's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.Authorities say a small bomb detonated outside Rangoon's City Hall, the focal point of last year's massive protests led by Buddhist monks. Riot police have sealed off the area from onlookers.Security has been tightened in Rangoon in advance of this week's anniversary of the crackdown. The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed and thousands more detained as a result of the crackdown.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: One of the world's longest-serving leaders, and one of its newest, will take the stage at the United Nations General Assembly today .Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, will headline the third day of debate in New York.President Mugabe has governed Zimbabwe with a strong grip since 1980. He recently relinquished some power to the opposition under international pressure following controversial general elections.

PAKISTAN: Pakistani authorities say they have heightened security at all airports after a phone caller threatened to bomb the Islamabad airport.Authorities at the international airport in Islamabad say security officials found no bombs at the boarding gates and lounges during a sweep of the building today.They say despite the ongoing search, all flights are on schedule.Security officials began searching the airport after an unknown person called in a suicide bomb threat today. Rumors of bomb threats have circulated the capital since a suicide bomber detonated 600 kilograms of explosives at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad last week.

Listen to our World News for details.

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